Trade Article: The Way of the Warrior — a personal tale, by Elowan of Wind

Preface | Introduction | The beginning ... | Thy education ... | The Flower of Britannia | Black magic ... | Training up — as a beginner; as a novice; as an adept; as a master | Virtue Shield | The Noto killer | Some days it doesn't pay ... | I lose my Shield ... | A tale of two thieves | A tale of etiquette | The Lich — revisited | Elowan's Guide to Dungeon Delving

am in Wind. By rights I shouldn't be here at all. The requirements for entry into this fabled city are stringent. But for some reason known only to the city fathers — mages all — they are allowing direct gating into the city and more importantly into the Park itself. Which was fine by me. I had been befriended by a seasoned adventurer and gated into the Park directly by him. I then used a Mark scroll to inscribe a rune. From that point on I shuttled back and forth from the bank to the Park using the rune and Recall scrolls, steadily building up my cash reserves and, I confess, much in the form of 'shmotke' which I kept in my bank box. How many suits of bone armor does any one person need? I'm sure that I don't have the answer; it depends upon ones definition of need I suppose. But the hoarder mentality is rife amongst newcomers and I am not immune.

Note: Entry into Wind as I write today is only allowed via the entrance teleporter. Gating in or out of Wind today is impossible as is Recalling in. It is possible to Recall out, however. When I was younger it was possible to both Recall and Gate into Wind but the privilege was abused and therefore was stopped. A pity since it is an ideal training ground for the aspiring warrior mage but it takes a minimum magery of 72 in order to enter now. The teleporter will reject anyone who does not qualify for entry. We will discuss Wind in greater degree later on in this treatise.

I'm fortunate to be able to come here and I'm somewhat jealous of that prerogative. In fact those of us who know of this place tend not to discuss it for fear of ruining it. I've done well, averaging almost 3000 gold per foray. And that just in tailoring — especially female plate. But I'm still not strong enough yet for orcs let alone lizard men. Ogres aren't in it either — not yet at least. But I will persevere. I have been using a Viking sword up to now and making sure it stays in good repair. I have a magical katana given to me by a friend. It does not inflict as much damage as a sword nor yet a halberd but it is fast. Hence it makes up for its lack of power in quantity of strikes. I'm hesitant to employ it over much — I lack confidence. My friend says that I should try on a grizzly bear. They are both evil and a difficult foe. He says that if I can slay one of these then I should fear nothing here within the Park.

The Park of Wind is a good place for one of my talents. There are animals in plenty and of varying ferocity sufficient to try one's mettle as well as build up skills. There are monsters here as well: orcs, lizard men, and ogres. These will yield up treasure — or so I'm told. For the braver and stronger adventurer there are the tunnels wherein lurk scorpions, liches, daemons, drakes and even — or so I'm told — a dragon. I shudder at the thought of the latter. It is not that I am fearful of death — I have already faced that — it is mostly the fear of pain methinks. The thought of being parboiled or ripped limb from limb gives one pause.

I avoid the orcs and the other two — animals are enough enow. In fact, when I'm alone here — which is infrequent of late — I confess to calling the guards to rescue me should I be targeted by one of these. A cowardly act no doubt, but I know my limitations and it is the height of folly to over-reach. There are old warriors and bold warriors but no old, bold warriors that I know of. But I itch to tackle a grizzly bear with my new war axe.

In fact there's one over there. I quickly cast Reactive Armor upon myself then I equip my kite shield and my war axe. I throw a stone at the bear. It throws its head up and spies me capering away over here. It charges at me. It is amazing just how fast they can be. I only hope that I can make it to the teleporter should the fray go against me. I move in that direction just in case. In a trice the beast is upon me. He launches a crushing blow to my head but it is deflected by my eldritch armor though the force of it rocks me. I try to remember what my friend taught me: parry — chop — parry. I thrust my shield into the bears muzzle while at the same time I swing the axe. Whoosh! Smack! I'm rewarded by a solid hit to the beasts left shoulder. It staggers him slightly but if anything it has made him angrier. He strikes again and again his blow is deflected. I try a back hand and I miss throwing me off balance. The bear swipes at me with his right paw. Ouch! The blow was only partially deflected and blood wells from my thigh where his paw has buckled my plate leggings. Thank the gods I'm able to wear plate finally. It was a long struggle to build up my strength sufficiently to wear a complete set. The bear lunges again fetching me a glancing blow to my left arm and almost causing me to lose my shield. The Reactive Armor spell has obviously worn off and I won't have time to cast it again. Besides, I'd have to drop my shield and my axe in order to do that. With an animal this quick I may as well leap from a cliff.

We trade swings and blows. Bang! This time he has managed to strike me full in the chest and I'm thrown backwards. But my last blow has bloodied his face and he pauses to shake the streaming flow from his eyes. He's temporarily blinded. I could leap in now and possibly finish him but I hesitate. I quickly loosen my shield and grab a vial filled with deep yellow liquid from a pouch. Pulling the cork with my teeth I quaff the contents just in time. The bear attacks just as I feel the eldritch energy coursing through my body and partially healing me. I toss the vial aside and ready my axe. The bear is tired now as am I, but I have been renewed whereas he is almost depleted. I have learned how to project an image of my foe before me; and image that helps me gauge the condition of his health. If he is completely healthy this picture will be blue. If I have put hurt upon him, part of the picture will be red. In the case of the bear the picture is almost all red. I exult but I have been taught well not to underestimate this particular foe so I wait and let him come to me. Still I am surprised by the ferocity of his attack and he takes me by surprise. He lands a solid blow that almost finishes me! THank the gods that I took th etime to quaff that healing potion! But he is finished as well; he turns and moves off. His health is so low that a simple Vas Flam would finish him but I dare not use magic here. It is forbidden to use offensive spells here. In fact one worthy bowman lost his life to the ubiquitous guards by attacking with a magically charged crossbow.

I put down my weapon and shield and cast Greater Heal upon myself. There is no hurry to attack; the bear has moved away. For once the spell does not fizzle and the magical energy heals more than half my wounds. I re-equip my weapon and shield and trot over to the bear. He is standing with head down, staring dully at the cave wall. I can have no pity — this is an evil creature — so I attack furiously. Two whacks and he goes down dead at my feet.

Ooyah! I've done it! It was close but I did it! I quickly cast Heal upon myself to finish the mending process. This precaution has been drummed into my head by my mentors: savor thine victory and collect thy loot only after thou art healed to the fullest. Only after I've done this do I stoop to examine my conquest. I place my hand upon one of his cooling paws. It is enormous! I had no idea before this! The claws are long and sharp as well. Gadzooks! I shiver slightly out of both fear and accomplishment. I feel good. Pity there is no use for his hide. But no matter. I've killed a grizzly bear!

Ooragah! An orc! And he's attacking me! I see him shambling toward me with his mace raised and I recognize him: Barragh. His scarred face is twisted into an evil grimace. He almost killed one of my friends a day or so ago and he escaped the guards then. I turn to face him. Come to me Barragh! Come! There will be no running away today for Elowan Romulane. There will be no calling for the guards today or any other day. Today I have killed the grizzly bear! Come Barragh!

The Park has changed since my youth as have many things within the Land. For example, it is no longer a justice zone — there are no guards within its confines. Hence it is permitted for spells of any stripe to be cast there. It also means that it is not possible to hunt there without worry from aught but monsters. An occasional Pker comes here but they find the pickings slim and typically haunt more profitable venues. Still, it is mete to stay alert — there and in the tunnels

It is also normally mete to make haste slowly and allow time for thine skills to mature. Having a mentor standing by to heal thee and preserve thee during a battle is a boon. If thou hast such an advantage then it is also mete for thee to attempt much stronger creatures than usual since such battles can advance thy skills at a remarkable rate. Such mentors willing to abide the vagaries of 'baby sitting' novices are rare, however. See to it that thee reduces the rarity by becoming one of these when thine skills have advanced appropriately. The rewards of so doing are incalculable. Take a leaf, though, from the book of the mother dragon. She will cripple a creature such that it presents little danger to her offspring. She then guides her offspring to the kill and lets it dispatch it. Thee mayest do the same. Allow the neophyte to establish the attack so as to focus the creature, then via use of magery or direct attack, reduce its health to a level conducive to the mettle of thine student. Be always watchful of thine students health particularly when dealing with creatures such as the grizzly bear and the bull. Try always to let thine student get the kill. Not only does this increase the student's notoriety but more importantly — their confidence. Let them also enjoy the fruits of the victory. If they wish to convey part of the loot to thee accept it graciously and as thy due; but never insist upon it. If thee cannot afford to do otherwise then mayhap 'tis better not to do it at all.

I cannot say that it was necessarily wise for me to have attempted the grizzly when I did. It may have been better to have awaited help. And I confess that even confronting the orc when I did may be construed as reckless. I can only say that something within me said that I was ready and there comes a time for everyone to take that step. I do not pretend to know when that step may be for thee I can only advise: when in doubt don't.

Note: Orcs come in various 'flavors': orc; orc captain; orc mage and occasionally the orc arrow slinger. Only the former will be found in Wind and can usually be dealt with by the warrior of average strength and ability. The latter will be seen only rarely and only during an invasion. He is a formidable foe and should never be taken on one-on-one even by the most advanced warrior though they have little resistance to magic. Of the remaining two — neither will be seen within Wind but will be encountered in the wilds of Britannia, especially around Cove or Yew. The orc captain is not for the novice and the orc mage is only for the accomplished with a fair degree of magic resistance.

Ratmen will not be seen in Wind and are somewhat weaker than the average orc. Lizardmen are tougher than orcs and will be a handful for the average novice. There is rumor of a lizardman mage but I have yet to encounter one. These are said to be much tougher than even orc mages.

As easy as any one monster may be, in numbers they can quickly overwhelm even the toughest warrior. Even a gaggle of rabbits can wreak havoc on the novice. When encountering more than one foe, all of whom are attacking, try to position thyself in such a way that only one, or at the most two, can come at thee at one time.

There is nothing like victory over a tough foe to boost one's confidence. However, this boost of confidence is often — especially in the young and inexperienced — accompanied by a boost in arrogance. I've heard it termed hubris in some circles. Whatever the feeling may be called, it is not conducive to clear thinking when the smell of blood is in thine nostrils. Add to this the circumstance prevailing within Wind at the time and one has a deadly combination.

It has been a frustrating day within the Park today. I've done well enough hide-wise but poorly creature-wise. Part of the problem is that there are too many hunters here of late. Some miscreant has been selling runes to this place and by the look of it is becoming prosperous. The "regulars" including myself and a few others have staked out the northern end of the Park by virtue of our seniority. It is here that most orcs and ogres and lizard men seem to reveal themselves, whilst in the southern part can be found most of the hide animals.

The guards seem to be over zealous as well — or perhaps the wandering mages are wreaking revenge for our not tithing them. Whatever the reason, the guards are dispatching these fell beasts more quickly than usual. There is barely time to recognize the presence of one, it seems before a guard appears and whacks it, taking all the loot for himself I have no doubt. We try to get the creatures to chase us off the sward and near the walls but we are not always successful. Therefore, we have agreed that when such a creature appears we will gang up on it to put it down before the guards do. The targeted hunter getting his pick of the loot.

This has worked well enough but the combination of slow 'spawning' as it is called and the zealous guards have produced something akin to a berserker attitude amongst the hunters. But so far there have been no accidents.

An ogre has just appeared to my right. He has been attacked by Extreme, and several others are running over there. I join them. When I arrive pandemonium reigns. One of the fighters is standing so close to the ogre that it is hard to get a clear shot. I nonetheless target the ogre and swing my halberd. Unfortunately for me, I had forgotten to cast the Notoriety Notification Cantrip, a safety measure invaluable in these circumstances since it prevents one attacking a 'good' person. As I swing my halberd the ogre dodges and before I can check the swing it strikes one of the fighters. I quickly drop my weapon but it is already too late. There is a roar of the teleportation spell. I hear: "Ye'll pay for this ye swine!" and everything goes gray. I hear the voice of OSI in my head say: Thou art dead!

I panic and choose instant resurrection to preserve my belongings. As it was I suffered loss of most of it anyway as well as considerable loss of attributes into the bargain. One of the participants in the melee had grabbed one of my packs as I fell and scampered off with it. My friends have retained part of my belongings but most of my equipment is gone. I look around at the faces. I know everyone there and I know the name of the face that's missing. Damn him for the low-life looter that he is!

I have never looted! I would not! And now, having experienced death and looting, I know that I never shall — except perhaps in revenge. God grant that I may be able to repay that scumbag some day. But it is too late to do anything now and too late to prevent the loss of painfully gained skills and the shock of the death has reduced my strength as well. It will be some time to recover that. I can't seem to remember how to cast some spells either. It seems that the stress of the instant resurrection has blanked some of my mind. Ye merciful gods!

It takes me almost an hour to recover from my fit of anger. My friends have volunteered gold and equipment and one has offered to gate me to the Bank in Britain to restock. I will take him up on his kind offer and then I shall retire for the day. My heart isn't in the sport for the moment.

This is a good time to speak of the Death Deposit.

The Death Deposit is that special stash thee keeps within thy bank box against the inevitable day when thou doth ziggeth when thou should have zaggeth. It is my strong suggestion that thee keep a minimum of 2000 gold along with a weapon, suit of armor, shield and a supply of reagents in the bank for this eventuality.

Sooner or later — sooner if thou art foolish, later if thou art wise — thou wilt experience death. Most of the time this will happen because thou wert careless or stupid or over-reaching or ignorant. In each of these cases it is hoped that the experience will have taught thee something — knowledge that probably could not be gained in any other way. In point of fact, one of the best ways to increase thy Magic Resistance — something that can prolong thy life — is to fight magic using monsters, who at this stage will, not to put a fine point on it, kick thy ass. In the process of this kicking thou wilt be exposed to eldritch energies which will boost thy resistance but may also lay thee low. 'Tis a paradox of the first water.

There will, unfortunately, be those times when despite all, death will occur. For example thee might be entrapped by the pernicious and malicious Lag Sprite who is no respecter of position or saintliness. If this happens whilst thou art engaged in defending thyself against attack — thee will perish as sure as night follows day.

When that day doth arrive how thee reacts depends upon the conditions of thy death and the state of thy advancement. It is always a shock to be whacked and wake up to a fulsome grayness. It is disturbing, disorienting and not a little annoying into the bargain. If thou shouldst be killed by a stupid beast that hath wandered off and thy skills are low, choosing instant resurrection may be a wise decision. Then thee should hide until thy health returns whereupon thee may steal back to thy corpse, recover thy possessions and run pell mell back to town.

If thou shouldst be killed by an orc or other such, these will loot thy body taking most of everything of value. In which case it is best simply to stay in thy ghostly form and flit back to town to a healer and be "ressed" as they say. If thee can remain calm at this stage, take this opportunity to scout out the area — particularly if within a dungeon — so as to harbor knowledge useful in future quests. Make use of the cantrip "ScreenSave" and make sure that thine journal has been blessed with the "automatic save" spell. Typing comments, which appear as so much "OOO"'s to others will be clear within thy journal.

On the other hand, shouldst thou go against those fell creatures known as PKers, the odds are that thou wilt perish in the attempt and thee will be lucky to retain even thine small clothes. Thee should be prepared for this. This is not to say that this will always happen but it is likely especially if thee should venture alone.

It is normal for thee to be upset, even angry, furious perhaps when death happens; I'm always grumpy afterwards. It is made worse when thy ghost witnesses the desecration of thy body and the looting of thy possessions and still worse by the taunting of thy killer(s). Thou must accept this. Thou must be of Zen to survive thy death. If thou art of Zen, thou shalt be made stronger. To be of Zen is to realize that there are no could's nor should's there is only what is.

First — decide now that thy skills are more important than thy possessions. In fact, whilst it is hard, thy attitude about thy possessions should be one of disdain. Consider them borrowed. Once thou art dead, consider them gone. Consider them no longer thine. Concentrate on how to make the most of this experience and to minimize the damage this experience has caused. It is said that the hallmark of an intelligent being is that it learns from its mistakes. Art thou intelligent?

It is very tempting — in fact the OSI makes it easy — to regain thy life again instanter and upon the spot. That thee may choose this course does not make it the most prudent one. Remember two things: It is probably never a good idea to accept the "gift" of instant resurrection because what the Great God OSI giveth with his right hand he taketh away with his left. Hence the word: sinister — on the left; resurrection is of this ilk. The OSI has a twisted sense of humor in any event.

The second thing to remember is this: possessions can be replaced with a minimum of fuss, particularly if thou hast followed my advice to save against thy Death Day. However, attributes and skills are hard won. If thee accepts the 'gift' of the OSI and chooses resurrection upon the spot — there is a price to be paid. Thee will lose some portion of these hard won attributes and skills — up to 25%. Therefore unless thee is a rank beginner, instant resurrection is not a choice — it is an anathema. Do not choose it unless someone else is prepared to cast the Resurrection spell upon thee whereupon these penalties no longer apply — at least for now. Lord Elowan's third aphorism:

"Goods are cheaper than skills",

should therefore be heeded with great heeding.

Do not choose instant resurrection either if thy killer still hovers about. Thee wilt only be dispatched again. It is tempting to do this when killed by a solitary monster in the wilderness and it wanders away without looting. Here thee must decide whether thy magic axe is more valuable than thy skills. I will always choose the latter. This is not to say that thou canst not come back to this place in the hope that thy possessions will still be there — often they are. So much the better. But if thee considers them gone beyond redemption then recovering them is a gift from the right hand of the OSI.

This is especially important if thee sees thyself being looted. This is often done by 'honorable' people who are not. Sometimes what appears to be looting will be an honorable man's way of protecting thy goods. In that event thou art truly blessed. Run quickly to a healer and return to claim thy shmotke (a Scythian word which means: "junk"). Offer a gift in thanks to this rare person but do not be surprised if they refuse. But cherish their names and act in a like manner in their name should thee get a chance to do so. To "insta-res" in the hope of preserving thy goods against looting bystanders, however, is a vain hope.

But the OSI has been troubled by the indiscriminant looting of corpses and is considering branding all those who disturb the bodies of the fallen — as criminals. Which means that thy friends may not be able to recover thy goods either. What this will do to the problem of being looted by those of less than honorable status is — nothing, in point of fact. But the OSI is most particularly perturbed by those bearing the blue aura who have hidden behind their notoriety in order to loot without fear of reprisal and who abet their evil cousins the PKers. A branded person is therefore liable to be put to death upon the spot and by anyone of any alignment — without fear of the avenger losing honor.

My advice to thee upon thy death is as follows. Know that I speak from experience and from my heart:

Firstly — refuse instant resurrection unless thee be a neophyte. Next take stock of thy surroundings. Cast the cantrip: Radar View so that thee may see thy surroundings as a bird does. Look within thy pack while thee does so. Thy spellbook should still be there unless thou wert so witless as to place it within another bag. Thy spellbook should never be placed within another bag. Not only wilt thou be unable to cast ensorcled spells in this event but it may be stolen; whereas if it is left exposed within thy pack it never can be nor will it disappear upon thy death.

Do not manifest thyself! Do not put thyself into War Mode! Observe from thy invulnerable and invisible vantage point all that transpires — there is no hurry, death is ageless. Thou art dead; thee has no need for thy possessions; they are gone. If thou hast taken my advice to cast the cantrip: JournalSaveFile=g:\uo\uolog_new.txt onto uo.cfg, then all that thee observes and hears will be magically recorded within thy journal. This is of utmost importance especially if thou hast been killed by PKers and/or looted by bystanders. Thee can at least ask the latter later why they didst not come to thy aid. Revenge is a dish best eaten cold in any event and to have these names recorded may afford thee the pleasure of returning any and all 'compliments' they have rendered thee at this juncture.

I had just such an opportunity which has made me a firm believer that the Great God OSI doth indeed walk the Land. I was in Wind in the days when it was possible to Gate to that place — it has since not been possible to do so. Those were halcyon days indeed. It was possible to hunt within a guarded park and slay hide animals and even fell creatures such as orcs, ogres and lizard men. There was an Inn nearby where thou couldst rest in safety and places to buy and sell goods. But sometimes there were too many hunters and a berserker attitude tended to creep in. Many times more than one intrepid hunter would join in the attack upon a monster. In that event, it was possible for an inexperienced warrior to attack another person by mistake. There was no recourse in that event — the guards wouldst slay thee out of hand. This did happen to me ( as thou hath read in the part above: Death by Inadvertence) and whilst I did, in panic, accept instant resurrection — still the greater portion of my goods were looted by a particular bystander who then fled the area — though I did have his name; it was distinctive and my journal was magically recording all that had transpired. Some of my things had been recovered for me but the greater portion was lost. Even more devastating, however, was the skill and attribute loss that I suffered through my panic.

I vowed then and there never to let this happen again (not death but instant resurrection). I also vowed to seek revenge but this was an empty vow for the thief had been honorable. I cried in rage and impotent fury at the time but I got over it and soldiered on gradually recovering all the skills I had lost and regaining replacements for all the goods that had been purloined. I nevertheless prayed that someday I might be permitted to wreak revenge or at least witness something akin to it — and one day my prayers were answered. I beheld a wonder that day.

On that day I happened to be visiting the Lord's Arms which lies within the walls of our Lord British's castle. Whilst within the shop another customer came in and as is my habit I cast the cantrip: Allnames. To my surprise I found that he was none other than the chap who had looted me within Wind Park not so long before! By then I had come to a more philosophical attitude about those who have a weakness for looting and so did not confront him. What good would it have done me in any event? He would have denied it thereby compounding his felony but to what end? So I ignored it and passed it off as an interesting coincidence except for the wish that he might drop dead.

He exited the shop ahead of me and just as the doors closed I heard the familiar 'clang!' and the sound of a death rattle. I rushed outside and found my looter stretched out dead upon the cobbles with his pack horse standing near him! A guard was walking calmly away. I did not pause to ask why, I merely accepted the gift the Great God OSI had laid before me. I confess with no shame and with no small feeling of delight that I stripped this 'criminal' down to his small clothes leaving only a sash behind. He was loaded to the hilt with reagents, gold, arms and runes and magical armor. For a fleeting moment I understood the thoughts a greedy PKer must have when he dispatches another and finds such a trove. But I shrugged off this evil thought; this event would not tempt me into that path.

I myself was overloaded to twice my capacity with all that I had garnered from this greedy zastraneetz for the contents of his pack horse had joined the pile. He was probably one of those 'honorable' PK helpers; he had the look.

In those days it was possible to invoke the spell Recall with no weight penalty. So I did so — directly to the roof of Britain's bank where I deposited my 'reward' into my bank box without a qualm. I am convinced to this day that it was a wonder, a gift from the Great God OSI. I told myself that this was a reward for remaining steadfast and not forsaking honor. On that day I did make a vow that my resolve to continue along the path of honor was forever reinforced and that I would do all in my power to aid the less fortunate. And I have done so and have never taken another thing that it was not right to so do. And when others express doubt that the gods of this fair land care not for us mere mortals I remember that day and I smile.

But I have digressed from my main theme.

Establish definite landmarks if thee has been slain by a non-looting monster. Now begin to walk calmly to the nearest town. There exists a magical enchantment called "Uomap" which can give thee thy coordinates if thou shouldst feel the need. Do not run — walk calmly allowing thy good sense to take hold once again. Take stock as thou goest. Invoke the SaveScreen cantrip as needed for future reference.

Avoid or decline any offer to be resurrected by a wandering healer unless a friend is holding thy belongings. When thou hast been res'ed thy health is at its lowest ebb and even a rabbit may dispatch thee. Too, even when thy health recovers thou art still vulnerable because thee has no weapons nor yet armor. Wait until thee reaches a guarded town and a bank. This is less a problem now then it once was for now even the meanest town — save Buc's Den — sports a bank.

Once thou hast been 'resurrected' go immediately to the bank and re-outfit thyself. Get thee next to an Inn and rest. If it is possible to return safely to where thou didst fall and recover thy belongings — do so before going to the Inn but do not take unnecessary risks. Make sure that thou leavest everything except that which is absolutely necessary within the bank at this time.

If this is thy first time — thou wilt undoubtedly will be hit hard. Perhaps a trove of recall runes is gone, along with scrolls, not to say more reagents than is prudent to carry. That in addition to thy armor and thy best weapon(s). Take heart in knowing that this hath happened to us all. What is important now is what thee does about it.

Firstly, decide here and now to carry no more than is necessary for thy survival. That means leave all thy runes within the bank save one — this one rune is to the bank, but see to it that thou hath a reserve copy safely ensconced within thy bank box. All other runes may be left safely within the bank because thou mayest recall away from any one resting therein. This means that in order to go any place other than where thou art, it is first necessary to return to the bank. I submit to thee that the minor inconvenience this may cause thee and the extra reagents thou must use to do so are trifling when weighed against the loss of such runes in the event of further death — and death will happen and at the most inconvenient of times.

The only exception to this rule is when thou art escorting NPC's to their destinations. But that is a specialized matter and not germane to our current discussion.

What then should be carried? Herein is Elowan's guide to adventurer's backpacks:

Always carry a spare weapon with thee in reserve. With rare exceptions, no weapon, regardless of how wondrous, is invulnerable to breakage. This spare should not be the second best weapon in thy arsenal. In point of fact, it should be mundane, purchased at the local armorer. It can be of a type identical to thy primary weapon or of a different type but never one in which thy skills are low. Make sure that both weapons are in good repair — especially thy spare; it may be called upon to save thy life.

If thou art hunting hide animals, carry a skinning knife. Do not use thy primary weapon to skin thy kill — it will take wear; this wear will weaken it. And when thee should happen to find a magical weapon upon a dead creature — be not in a hurry to use it. Such weapons are almost always in a weakened state. Have them repaired by a master blacksmith before thee uses them.

Carry one rune and one rune only — to thy bank. If it is possible the location should be one where there is little chance of being disturbed by thieves. The roof of the bank at Britain; the parapet of the bank at Serpent's Hold, the bank at Ocllo are such places. It is good to label this rune something like: "The Happy Hunting Grounds" or some such. There is a diabolical method in mine suggestion shouldst thou think upon it.

Carry two Recall scrolls — not one but two — for an emergency such as running out of reagents or when sorely beset; and do not let them stack. These should be in the top level of thy pack next to thy Recall rune. Two, because even scrolls may sometimes fail. And if thou hath to use one — replace it immediately and before setting out for any destination.

Obtain a small lockable box and key from someone with Tinkering skill (it may be necessary to search around for someone with Tinkering skill who may fit a lock to a box). Place therein 5 of each of the 8 reagents and lock the box. Put it and the key in the first level of thy pack. Spells cannot consume reagents contained within locked containers. One day thou wilt find thyself in a situation wherein thou hast run out of a reagent or two. Unlocking the box will allow spells to be cast again in an emergency — such as critically needed healing. Having to unlock this box is thy signal to beat a hasty retreat to someplace safe. Heed that signal!

Carry no more than 20 each of each reagent. If thou hath the stamina perhaps as many as 40 each may be carried. There are only two reasons to carry more: 1) thou art practicing magery in some safe place; 2) thou art providing magical support for a group of fighters one of which should have the sole job to guard thee or are venturing into dangerous places (see Dungeon Delving).

Carry at least 2 potions of Greater Healing. These are to be used only while fighting or when it is not possible to cast Heal upon thyself or cause it to be cast upon thee. Thy shield hand must be free in order to drink of these potions and it takes 10 seconds before thou mayest consume the second phial.

Carry a Wand of Identification even if thy skill in this art is great. This wand should have more than 10 charges remaining. If less, leave it in the bank. Thou mayest ignore this advice if it is thy intention to return to the bank before selling loot. However, thee may have in thy possession an article of great power that could lend success to thy venture. There are staffs of identification but require two hands to use; this can be a problem at times. Besides they weigh more. An aside: do not discard wands that are out of charges. Mage shops will buy these to recharge them. Or thee can give it to a mage for thy fames sake.

Sequester thy reagents within a small bag and thy gold likewise to avoid clutter within thy pack.

An aside: My young rogue friend Barstal Thane advises that thee not carry thy reagents within a single bag but to distribute them liberally therein. Put up with the clutter says he. In point of fact — he reccomends that these not be placed in discrete piles of like reagents but in many piles. This will safe guard thee against the rogue who would deprive thee of thy reagents perhaps at the cost of thy life. He should know.

I always carry two extra packs. One is for loot picked up along the way. I usually dye this some color other than brown. The other is to retain spare scrolls and the like.

If I am hunting hide animals I carry at least two sewing kits. There is nothing so frustrating as to have to end a hunt because thy sewing kit has just given up the ghost and 10 hinds have just spawned right in front of thee.

I carry a mortar and pestle within my reagent bag and when I have the time I replenish any healing potions I may have consumed (which means that I don't discard the empty phials).

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